The first volume of this three-part autobiographical series begins in 1938 with the expulsion of the Kovačič family from their home of Switzerland, eventually leading to their settlement in the father’s home country of Slovenia. Narrated by a ten-year-old boy, he describes his family’s journey with uncanny naiveté. Before leaving their home, he imagines his father’s country as one of beauty and fairytales, but as they make their way to their land of exile, the family realizes that any efforts to make this place a home will be in vain. Confronted by misery, hunger, and hostility, the young boy refuses to learn Slovenian and falls silent, his surroundings becoming a social, cultural and mental abyss.
Told from the point of view of a child, one memory is interrupted by fragments and visions of another. Some are innocent and tender, while others are miserable and ruthless, resulting in a profound and heart-wrenching description of a period torn apart by conflict, reflected in the author’s powerful and innovative command of language.